Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Thursday, March 09, 2006

He'll Tell Us What To Do!

It's been an eventful couple of days for Jim Bowden. First he gets all pissed off and blames the team he put together for playing badly, which isn't the first time he's done that.
"I don't want to be embarrassed. I don't have any criticism about effort. I don't have any criticism about the work ethic. I don't want to be embarrassed," Bowden said. "Hey," he added, "how do you like my new lime green tracksuit?"
Then he's rewarded with a contract extension.

Neither of these stories is as important as it seems at first. Taking the latter one first, this doesn't mean Bodes won't be out on his ass once we get a new owner. It just means he keeps getting a paycheck after that happens, so I hope Tony Tavares is on his Christmas card list. As far as the cuts, I think Harper's right.
I’ll add that it’s a ingenious plan to look like a strong GM. Invite too many cooks to the kitchen, then throw a bunch out when the broth tastes funny. Look at the strong leadership!
Exactly. We have too many players, and some guys are going to get cut. This way, Bodes gets to look like a hard-nosed talent evaluator instead of just a guy with too many second basemen.

If there's one thing I've learned in this cold, puppy-killing world, it's that you won't be disappointed if you keep your expectations good and low. It's a lesson quite a few of the Nationals should learn. This article by Barry Svrluga makes the Nats sound like they're awaiting the imminent arrival of the Messiah, who will strike down their enemies and get them some decent video equipment.
"I believe it's going to be a different scenario," outfielder Jose Guillen said. "An owner who comes here and pays $450 million, he's going to have money and spend money. Just look at the situation last year. I know Jim wanted to make some moves, and he did okay, but we didn't have much money, and it could be a different story. Money talks. Look at the Yankees and the Red Sox and the Cubs. When they need something, they can go out and get it." . . .

"They're spending $611 million on a stadium?" Patterson said. "That's setting a pretty good example of what they expect from baseball in the future there. Washington, D.C., could definitely be a hot spot for free agents to play."

There's no reason to think the new owner, whoever he may be, is going to give us a $200 million dollar payroll and a string of pennants. How many teams spend that kind of money? One, and I'm not sure I'd want that owner anywhere near my favorite team. Indeed, there's little reason to think that things will get better at all once the team is sold. Svrluga observes:

The Nationals' projected payroll of $60 million already is an increase of $7.2 million from last year, and the total would have ranked the team 20th of the 30 major league clubs a year ago.
Think about that: ten major league teams, all with owners and ballparks and all that stuff, spent less on payroll than the supposedly hopelessly hamstrung Nationals, and none of those owners just spent $450 million to buy the team. Cleveland and Oakland's successes suggest that it isn't our payroll that's holding us back, and while a more settled ownership situation would be nice, there's no reason a good GM couldn't have done something positive with the Expos/Nationals team Bowden was handed. But, you know, they handed it to Bowden.

So don't expect too much from the owner. That way, if he keeps the payroll low and hires his dim bulb golfing buddy to run the time, you'll be prepared. If he turns out to be Steinbrenner without the felonies and general jackassery, you'll enjoy it all the more.

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